Dharamsala, Feb. 27 – A Tibetan monk of Kirti monastery in Ngaba county set himself ablaze today, Voice of Tibet radio service reported, citing a source with contacts in the region.
Tsering, a monk of Kirti Jheypa monastery in Dharamsala, told VOT that Tabey (spelled as pronounced), aged between 25 and 30, of Kirti Trunkhor monastery in Ngaba county immolated himself around 1.40PM (Beijing Time).
“I was told the monk had gasoline spilled onto his body, and as soon as he reached the main road of the town he set himself on fire. Bystanders said he held high a picture of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and chanted something but couldn’t be heard,” Tsering said, adding that he might be calling for the return to Tibet of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and independence for Tibet.
According to Tsering, bystanders saw him collapse on the ground after they heard three gunshots. The monk was reportedly taken in a vehicle to a nearby hospital, said Tsering, but it is not known if he is alive or dead at the time of this report going online.
According to Tsering, locals link today’s incident of self-immolation to the Chinese government’s restrictions on holding the annual great prayer festival (Monlam Chenmo). Around a thousand monks had reportedly gathered at Kirti monastery earlier in the day demanding that they be allowed to hold the great prayer festival.